Amar Santana is a product of Queens, New York, but has found a new home on the West Coast, as chef and partner of Vaca in Costa Mesa, and Broadway By Amar Santana in Laguna Beach, California.
After finishing as a finalist on Bravo’s well-known culinary elimination show, Top Chef, in 2016, it’s safe to say Santana’s culinary resume is intimidating.
Yet, his humble demeanor paired with his competitive passion for cooking – along with an outside-the-box approach in creating vibrant, imaginative delicacies – is exactly what makes this Southern California chef and his cuisine “Foodbeast Approved.”
Recently, FOODBEAST was able to catch up with Chef Santana at Vaca, a Spanish-style tapas restaurant in Costa Mesa, where he whipped up one of the most elegant items on the menu.
Erizos con huevos, softly translated to “uni scrambled eggs,” consists of a freshly cut sea urchin with a mixture of soft scrambled eggs, served with toast and housemade miso butter.
If you’ve never had sea urchin before, don’t let this enigma deter you. The Erizos con huevos is creamy and full of umami, and manages to be the shining star despite a Vaca menu consumed with meaty options like Jamon de Iberico and pork belly.
Vaca is located in Costa Mesa – also known as ‘City of the Arts’ – a bustling neighborhood on the Newport Beach border full of good food and culture. If you hadn’t heard of this spot previously, it’s for certain Amar Santana and Vaca should be on your radar in 2018.
To learn more about the Costa Mesa food scene, visit travelcostamesa.com/eatcation. Don't forget to tag your photos with #eatcation!
Created in partnership with Travel Costa Mesa